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CSA Group officially opens 14-million global HQ at Toronto testing lab location


October 24, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

mt_ignore CSA Group—a player in standards, testing and certification, and consumer product evaluation services—officially unveiled its new energy-efficient, $14-million headquarters at its recently refurbished location on Rexdale Boulevard in Toronto, Ont., where it has operated since 1954.

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Photo: CSA takes the media (including EBMag staff) on a tour of CSA Group’s testing facilities. At far right is Ash Sahi, CSA Group’s president and CEO. Photo A. Capkun.

“Today is a very special and historic time for CSA Group,” said Ash Sahi, CSA Group’s president and CEO. “56 years ago, almost to the day, on October 25, 1954, we first opened our doors right here at 178 Rexdale Boulevard. This multi-million dollar flagship building serves not only as our global headquarters, but also as a testament to our strength, stability and foundation. We are a true Canadian success story that has stood the test of time to become a global service provider for the U.S., Canada and the world.”

The building was rebuilt in many areas to incorporate energy-efficient systems and construction while at the same time reusing much of the original infrastructure.

The renovation expands the facility to 252,000 sf, serving as the headquarters for CSA Group, which has offices, testing laboratories and affiliates in more than 60 countries globally. The organization currently provides services to about 20,000 customers and employs more than 1350 people around the world with about 9000 volunteer members who are the heart of the standards development process.

CSA was first founded in 1919 in Ottawa, but did not begin testing operations in Toronto until the early 1950s. The Canadian Standards Association testing laboratories opened at the Rexdale location in 1954 with 50,000 sf at a time when the region consisted of little more than dirt roads and farmers’ fields. The building now boasts modern offices, spacious meeting rooms and advanced laboratories for the testing and certification of gas, electric and plumbing products, as well as personal protective equipment such as occupational and hockey helmets. Laboratory areas include wind machines, fuel burning stations, water tanks, chemical analysis abilities and even rooms that replicate extreme temperatures like the Sahara’s dry heat and the Arctic’s frigid air.

To accommodate the increasing need from manufacturers for energy efficiency verification services, CSA will double its testing capacity across its laboratories including Toronto, Atlanta and Guangzhou. CSA is expanding its portfolio of service offerings to include testing for eligible products against new Energy Star efficiency requirements that go into effect in January 2011.

“Like the building itself, CSA Group has expanded and evolved over the years to stay in tune with the marketplace and to facilitate adoption of new and exciting technologies,” said Sahi. “We are proud to stand up for public safety. We are proud to make a difference in people’s lives. And, we are proud to come to work every day knowing that we are making the world a better, safer and more sustainable place for generations to come.”

CSA Group’s HQ is also trying to set a standard for sustainable and green practices. The facility incorporates the energy efficiency systems and ongoing pilot projects, such as rooftop photovoltaic solar panels, a solar hot water tank for the cafeteria, a wind turbine as an alternative source of energy and compact fluorescent lighting throughout the building. All of the glass windows and wall insulation were installed using R14 thermal resistance. The building also incorporates special energy-efficient ceramic glass spandrels that let in light while keeping out cold, and the majority of the original roofing has been retained or repurposed to keep the historic architecture intact.

The new corporate headquarters was designed and constructed by The Walter Fedy Partnership of Kitchener, Ont., who provided architecture, engineering and construction management services, and LDB Design Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ont., who provided interior design concepts.

CLICK HERE for CSA Group.